Winona Lake, Ind. - Junior forward Morgan Stuut (Marcellus, Mich./Three Rivers) scored a career-best 35 points in leading No. 9 Saint Xavier University to an 84-63 win over No. 20 Grace College (Ind.) in NAIA women's basketball action Saturday in the final day of the Bennigan's Terry Polston Hoops for Hope Tournament at Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind. The Cougars (3-1 overall) shot a season-best 57 percent (32-for-56) from the field in the game, including a 45 percent clip (5-for-11) from three-point range. Stuut had a huge first half scoring 25 points in the opening frame on stellar 9-for-11 shooting to help fuel SXU to a 46-41 halftime lead.
Junior guard Suzie Broski
(Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) also had a nice outing for the Cougars with 16 points, while senior forward Dana Sibley
(St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) just missed a double-double with eight points and career-best 11 rebounds. Senior guard Niara Harris
(Richton Park, Ill./Robert Morris/Rich South) provided a nice lift for the Cougars as well scoring 12 points. The Saint Xavier defense was just as impressive as the offense helping force 20 turnovers by the Lancers thanks in part to 11 steals. The Cougars were also dominant at the free throw line hitting 15 of their 16 attempts (94 percent). SXU started to build a lead midway through the first half and a three-pointer by Stuut at the 7:25 mark gave the Cougars a 34-23 edge. Grace fought back and cut the lead to five, 46-41, at the break. The game stayed relatively close until the final seven minutes of regulation when SXU really applied the defensive pressure and closed out the game on an 18-3 run.
Saint Xavier (3-1 overall) gets back to Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play on Wednesday, November 20, with a challenging road match-up with No. 15 Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.). The game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tip in Milwaukee.